First Amendment Right. Not.

Saturday, December 5, 2009
Posted in category Uncategorized

In this post from this morning, I point out some really awful errors made by libertarians as they muddle such things as “rights to free expression,” etc. Today, someone sent me this interesting video where I spotted another snafu by a libertarian.

A young man appears at a bookstore where AlGore is signing another one of his fraudulent books for many clueless customers waiting in line. The young man starts asking about Climategate, and he rages on about it for all of the customers to hear, and he keeps on and keeps on. His rage is all to the good, of course. But when a security guy softly touches him (at about 3:40 of the video) and starts guiding him out of the store, the man shouts, “Get your hands off of me. 1st Amendment rights….”

No, you have no 1st Amendment “rights” on the property of someone else who does not give you permission to do what you are doing. In this case, the man was getting loud and forceful, and bothering the store’s customers. The guard had every right to do whatever it took to remove him from the property without harm.

This is where under-educated libertarians always go wrong. It is private property rights that apply on someone’s property, not your mythical 1st Amendment rights.

Be Sociable, Share!
You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

4 Responses to First Amendment Right. Not.

  1. Michael says:

    December 5th, 2009 at 7:26 pm

    I caught this first on either LewRockwell.com or DailyPaul.com. It’s a great vid. Got to like the first 30 seconds of that clip. It looks like it’s from a TV show. Climate God Gore says, “We have to change the laws, policies through collective political action on a large scale.” That should send a shiver down the spine of every freedom-loving individual.

    “No, you have no 1st Amendment “rights” on the property of someone else who does not give you permission to do what you are doing. In this case, the man was getting loud and forceful, and bothering the store’s customers.” Very true. However, the protesters were legitimately protected while they “greeted” Gore and his entourage on the street. Side note: Notice how Gore and company get away in not an Earth-friendly Prius or Civic, but in a large, mantle-crushing, evil SUV. ;)

    “The guard had every right to do whatever it took to remove him from the property without harm.” Sort of. If the person in the video didn’t get off the property after he was commanded to leave, the guard could have righteously escalated.

  2. Johnathan says:

    December 5th, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    It is a sadly all-too-common belief, even among folks smart enough to know better, that the US Constitution’s first ten amendments, or “Bill of Rights” somehow “grants” rights to citizens. In fact, a simple reading shows that all of them are restraints on the actions of government. Thus, a claim of one’s “first amendment rights” is meaningless in the context of the actions of individuals on private property.

  3. Mike Tuggle says:

    December 6th, 2009 at 11:18 am

    You’re absolutely right, and I think the reason some libertarians fall prey to this kind of error is because they’re trying to live in an abstract world. The ideology of libertarianism is based on a skimming of practices and beliefs they find attractive, not grasping that those beliefs arose from specific cultural norms of Western civilization. Imagining reason, rather than culture, to be sovereign, libertarians wrong-headedly substitute abstractions for reality. So “individual liberty” becomes an absolute, abstract ideal that trumps every other consideration. Paleolibs, such as Tom Di Lorenzo, understand the cultural foundations of liberty, and of our other traditional rights, including the right to escort a trouble-maker out of your store.

  4. liberranter says:

    December 7th, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    You’re absolutely correct, Karen. The bookstore is private property, and that young man’s presence there was welcomed only to the extent of the owner’s willingness to allow it. Two of my biggest pet peeves are 1) the idea that businesses are “public property” that must admit all comers, and 2), related to number 1, hearing people say “They can’t refuse service to me!” Oh yes they can, although most businesses have the good economic sense not to turn away potential paying customers unless they’re behaving in a particularly obnoxious and destructive manner, like the man in this video.

    (I did wonder, however, whether the security personnel who escorted the man out of the store were Schutzstaffel [er, sorry, I mean Secret Service] or the bookstore’s own rent-a-cops. As a business owner, I’d certainly not want fedcops roughing up my customers, even if they were acting out of line.)

Leave a Reply